Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: CarGo caps May power show

MLB Notebook: CarGo caps May power show

MLB Notebook: CarGo caps May power show
Over the past 31 days, 859 home runs have been hit in the Major Leagues -- the most in a May since 2006, when there were 911 hit.

In the past month, Josh Hamilton became the 16th player to clout four homers in a game, 22-year-old Giancarlo Stanton tied a Marlins franchise record for dingers in a single month, and the Baltimore Orioles tied a Major league record by having their first three batters go deep.

This May also featured Adam Dunn reasserting his presence as one of the premier home run hitters in the game, Bryce Harper becoming the youngest player to homer in 14 years, and Carlos Gonzalez concluding it with a record-setting barrage -- a flurry of swings and similar outcomes that allowed his name to be added to the record books and produced one final imprint on a month notable for big flies.

Gonzalez homered in his first at-bat of the game in the Rockies' 11-5 win over the Astros on Thursday, and he finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored, three RBIs, a double and a home run.

With this homer Thursday following long balls in his final three at-bats the previous game, Gonzalez became the 38th player in history to homer in four consecutive at-bats, and the 22nd to do it in four straight plate appearances.

Gonzalez is the 17th National League player to homer in four straight at-bats, and the first to do it since Albert Pujols on April 16-17, 2006. Pujols also did it in four straight plate appearances. Gonzalez is the first Rockies player to hit home runs in four straight at-bats.

Before Gonzalez, no player in either league had homered in four straight plate appearances since Pujols in 2006. The most recent 10 occurrences before Gonzalez:

• Pujols: April 16-17, 2006
• Carlos Delgado: Sept. 25, 2003
• Troy Glaus: Sept. 15-16, 2002
• Shawn Green: June 14-15, 2002
• Mike Cameron: May 2, 2002
• Manny Ramirez: Sept. 15-16, 1998
• Bo Jackson: July 17, Aug. 26, 1990
• Larry Herndon: May 16-18, 1982
• Mike Schmidt: July 6-7, 1979
• Schmidt: April 17, 1976

Gonzalez is the ninth NL player to homer in four straight plate appearances. Besides the four times mentioned above (Pujols, Green and Schmidt twice), the others to do it were Bobby Lowe (1894), Ralph Kiner (1949), Art Shamsky ('66) and Deron Johnson ('71).

In his past five games, Gonzalez has gone 13-for-22, had at least two hits in each contest and had at least one extra-base hit in each game. In 2012, the longest streak of games with at least one extra-base hit is six -- a run accomplished by Matt Kemp and Aramis Ramirez.

Thanks in large part to his recent tear, Gonzalez has 30 extra-base hits for the season, and seven games with at least two. The 30 through 50 team games is the sixth most in Rockies history. Larry Walker had 34 in 1997, Todd Helton had 33 in 2000 and '01, Vinny Castilla had 33 in '04, and Preston Wilson had 31 in '03.

Behind Zack Greinke's six innings of one-run ball, the Brewers defeated the Dodgers, 6-2, to complete a four-game sweep of Los Angeles.

This set represented the fifth time the two teams played a four-game series, and the first in which one team swept the other. In 1998, the Dodgers took three of four. In 2000, the two clubs split the four games. In 2005, the Dodgers took three of four. Last season, the Brewers took three of four.

Greinke struck out seven and walked one. He now has 69 strikeouts and 16 walks for the season, giving him a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 4.31 that is the 11th best in the Majors.

Since his American League Cy Young Award-winning season in 2009, Greinke's ratio of 4.15 strikeouts for every walk is the fourth best for any pitcher with at least 500 innings. During this span, Roy Halladay checks in with a mark of 6.17 and is followed by Cliff Lee (5.82) and Dan Haren (5.01). For all starters with at least 1,000 innings since 1901, the career marks for Halladay, Lee, Haren and Greinke place all four in the top-15 all-time.

Here and there
• Boston's Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit his 10th home run of the season in a 7-3 loss to Detroit. In baseball history, switch-hitting catchers have combined for 76 seasons of double-digit homers. The Red Sox are responsible for 14 of those seasons. Saltalamacchia now has two, Jason Varitek had 11 and Victor Martinez had one. Those 14 are the most for any one franchise.

• As part of a 2-for-4, two-RBI night, Prince Fielder collected his first triple of the year. Since his first full season in 2006, Fielder has hit 10 triples, a total which ties him for 186th during the seven-year stretch.

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.